Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupé Shows X4-Rivaling Style in Shanghai
Fastback Version of GLK Replacement Nearly Production-Ready
Attempting to blend the sportiness of a coupe and the luxury and capability of a Mercedes-Benz SUV, the Concept GLC Coupé shown at Auto Shanghai 2015 today is yet another take on the fastback-crossover mold, joining the likes of its chief rival, the BMW X4, and its production-ready big brother, the GLE Coupé. The Concept GLC Coupé also provides some insight as to what to expect from the GLC SUV, which will replace the GLK as Mercedes-Benz’s compact luxury SUV offering within a year or so.
Being a Mercedes SUV (coupe or not), the Concept GLC comes with a large, bold grille with a center-mounted three-pointed star. It also gets the company’s signature twin hood bulges, á la the 1955 300SL Gullwing. In profile, the GLC Coupé has a pleasant design. Many fastback SUVs look excessively bottom-heavy, but the GLC looks very nice, with enough above the beltline to balance the SUV-inspired design elements below. Around back, thin taillights and a steeply raked rear window combine with a subtle ducktail spoiler to finish off the overall shape of the vehicle well, although it must be said that the lighting in back looks more Volkswagen than Mercedes.
Just looking at the “coupe’s” overall design, the GLC is arguably the best-looking example of the genre. However, some of the crossover’s details really set it off. The mirrors (which are almost certainly not bound for production) rest on remarkably delicate satin-silver arms that almost look like the aforementioned Gullwing’s doors when open. In back, two stacked exhaust outlets appear on each corner of the SUV, a surprising design element that looks out of place on a Mercedes but nevertheless provides some excitement to the design.
Along the sides, black rocker panels bulge slightly from the underside of the vehicle, which makes it look rugged, but those panels would likely collect mud and slush, soiling your pant legs every time you got into or out of the car. Plan on them getting toned down for the production version. The rocker panels and lower front and rear bumpers are painted a low-sheen black, with satin silver applied to the front bumper’s A-wing center section and rear bumper’s simulated skid plate. Technical-looking headlamps feature a much more interesting design than we’re used to from most LED light units.
The only styling feature of the car that lets us down is the wheels, which are a bit blobby for such a dynamic design otherwise.
Turning those wheels on the concept is a 3.0L biturbo V-6, producing 367 hp at 5500 rpm and 384 lb-ft of torque from 1400 to 4000 rpm. A nine-speed automatic transmission routes that power through Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive. At 6.5 feet wide and 5 feet, 2 inches tall, the GLC has a planted stance that we’re sure will translate into spry performance, especially considering how fun to drive the GLA45 AMG crossover is.
Mercedes-Benz didn’t explicitly say that the show car was bound for production, but according to the company, “the SUV world of Mercedes-Benz has room for further models, such as a production version of the Concept GLC Coupé.” Mercedes says that their existing lineup of four-door coupes, the CLS and CLA, have proved to be very successful for the company, so we’re sure executives are amenable to spreading that green to the SUV side of things as well. Besides, with BMW’s X4 and X6 selling very well, we doubt the Three-Pointed Star would be content to watch from the sidelines.
If the Concept GLC Coupé makes it to production, we’re sure it would be a success. It’s arguably the prettiest fastback SUV in a long time (if not ever), and this segment is driven by sex appeal, so we’d be surprised if the company didn’t sell every last one it could build.